People who are wildly in to college football betting usually focus on offensive production because it’s rare that we have great defensive teams throughout the country. That’s exactly why Oregon has become one of the most popular teams around. Their trademark brand of electric scoring has attracted gamblers to their side of the line more often than not. They have faced an average handicap of -33.1 throughout the year and have built an incredible 7-1 ATS record in spite of that. It helps when you have an offense that scores 55.6 points per game, while boasting a defense that gives up just 16.9 against.
Heisman front runner Marcus Mariota has been dynamite this season, picking up 2,281 passing yards and another 511 rushing yards to go along with 29 total touchdowns. There’s a definitive reason why he’s the top rated quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft. Teams are salivating over his big frame, his big arm and his big play making abilities. When it comes to college football betting, very few teams have consistently put up the mega points that Mariota and Oregon have over the last two seasons which is why they’ve become darlings in gambling circles.
But there’s one team that has had their number in the Pac-12, and that’s Stanford. The Cardinal have gone 2-2 SU and ATS against the Ducks in the past four years, and own a huge upset from last year when they stymied Oregon around this time last season when they won 17-14. That has been the fewest amount of points a Mariota-led Ducks team has ever scored in a game. Can Stanford do it again?
As I said, almost everyone focuses on offense in college football. Since there are so many teams handing out scholarships, building a marquee defensive side is no easy task. It takes a certain commitment from the coaching staff and the players have to buy in to what they’re being asked to do. That being said, Stanford is one of the best defensive teams in the country because everyone seems to be on the same page. They’ve allowed just 19.4 points against this season on average but that doesn’t tell the whole story.
Stanford likes to leave the back door open by pulling the majority of their starters after they’ve claimed victory early in a game. That’s a big reason why the fifth ranked Cardinal are just 4-4 ATS in college football betting so far. But against the best teams they’ve faced, the defense has come to play. They’ve allowed an average of just 19.5 points against when playing ranked teams this year, and silenced UCLA and Oregon State in the past two weeks. It’s taken some time, but Stanford is playing full tilt when it comes to generating stops. They’re ready for Oregon.
It’s no secret that quarterback Keith Hogan has to play his best football game against a vulnerable Ducks defense. Hogan has just 1,493 yards and 13 touchdowns this season while running-back Tyler Gaffney has chipped in 886 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. To cut to the chase, Stanford’s offensive attack is more than capable. Like the Chiefs in the NFL, Stanford loves to play balanced football. Hogan’s offense lacks consistent big play ability, but they’re more than happy to let the defense get busy. It’s about trust. Combined, the stern defensive efforts along with the tactical offensive bursts make Stanford one of the most dangerous programs in the country.
Revenge will be the minds of everyone playing for the Ducks in this massive college football betting match-up that could very well decide the fate of the Pac-12. Stanford isn’t a perfect team, but at home against a team they know they can play well against, they’re a solid play. With a potent rushing attack and Hogan dinking and dunking his way through the secondary, Stanford can chew up yards as well as the clock in order to keep Oregon’s offense on the sidelines. That’s the only game plan that will work because no matter how much I tout their defense, it’s not like I fully expect them to silence Oregon for four quarters.
The two x-factors in this game are simple to find. Stanford playing at home is a big one, but they’re also 18-8 ATS when playing a team with a winning record. The larger factor is that this will be Oregon’s biggest test of the season. There’s a reason that Stanford is the top ranked, one-loss team in the country, and there are just as many reasons as to why this college football betting line is so low.
In a game that will discuss the merits of Oregon’s offense, I expect their defense to let them down again as it did last season. Oregon doesn’t have a significant playmaker on that side of the football, and with a veteran quarterback playing alongside Gaffney – one of the best in the country – the Ducks could be in for a very long night. This is a must-win game for Oregon yet again, and like last year I expect them to come up short. Stanford’s balanced approach to football is something one-sided teams can’t match up against, and they’ll be ready to give their home fans something to cheer for as they challenge the Ducks in a tightly fought contest.
No matter what, cancel anything you have planned for Thursday night. This is going to be an absolute thriller.
College Football Betting Pick – Stanford +10.5 (UNDER)